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Date this web site was last edited:  02/09/2017

 

 

 

 

Review

Denison University 9th Annual Jazz Guitar Festival Weekend - Oct 7th - 9th,  2005

featuring Jack Wilkins and Gene Bertoncinni

Denison University is a liberal arts college located in the mildly hilly country side of Granville, Ohio - 20 miles due east of Columbus.  The music department hosts an annual festival to bring the best jazz guitar talent in the world to Denison.  This is a great resource for anyone that can appreciate great jazz.  

The festival consists of several workshops and clinics on Saturday afternoon, and then a concert of just the guest stars on Saturday night (with a jam following that at one of the local gin mills in Granville.)  Then, Sunday afternoon they have a grand concert again with the guest stars but also the jazz instructors from Saturday, too.  

Some wonderful jazz guitar is heard every year at this annual event - all for FREE!!!!

Tim Cummiskey (left) is one of our finest local Ohio jazz guitarists and he always takes full advantage of putting a gig together with the great Jack Wilkins (right) whenever he comes to town for the Denison Jazz Festival.  Here they are playing at the Worthington Inn on Friday night, Oct 7th.  Pictured with them are Jim Rupp on drums and Doug Richeson on bass.  
Before the "big" stars come in our local "professors" of jazz guitar put on several great clinics on Saturday, Oct 8th.  Here they all are backstage:  (left to right)

Tom Carroll - guitar - Denison U
Gui Rmonko - drums - Denison U
Stan Smith - guitar - Capitol U
Doug Richeson - bass - Denison U
Tim Cummiskey - guitar - The Ohio State U
Chris Buzzelli - guitar - Bowling Green

Tim Cummiskey, Chris Buzzelli, and Doug Richeson run one of the clinics.
Then the grand masters show up and put on a clinic of their own..  Jack Wilkins (left) and Gene Bertoncinni were absolutely amazing..

Then, after we all go to some quaint little eatery in downtown Granville for dinner, we converge back at the University for the evening concert..  I thought they were magnificent in the afternoon - they had just been toying with us..  Here they are feeding off each other's lines, licks, and talents..  Simply brilliant.
Tom Carroll joined them on stage for a couple tunes.  He's no slouch, either.. 
As it turns out, Jack Wilkins has many "gears."  One where he's relaxed and just laying back with folks and strumming a couple tunes.  Then, he gets a tad more serious when he plays with other guitarists.  THEN, he's got a high gear when it's just him.  There's a transformation that appears right before our eyes and ears as he "takes" center stage alone.  I don't mean to be derogatory by saying this, but there is such a difference in his playing that it was like the real Jack Wilkins had been in a guitar case someplace all day.  He is simply the best (silky smooth, complex and quick) plectrum jazz guitarist I've ever heard live...  (I wish I had some video or audio clips of this performance to share with you - but, believe me - I'm trying to find some...)
Gene Bertoncinni has about the same performance "gear ratio."  However, Gene doesn't aim at speed... He aims at blowin' our minds with the most outrageously beautiful chords, progressions and lines ever drawn out of a standard tuned 6 string guitar.  Though I personally don't always fully understand where he is going - I sit in total awe of his mastery at work..  He's a true treasure to the history of jazz.
Gene and Jack after the concert.
Tom joins Gene and Jack for a photo op...  Thanks, Tom, for all the work in putting together the Annual Denison University Jazz Guitar Festival...
Above pictures courtesy of Arnie Alpert and Brian Kelly.